Assorted links


1. Which of course leads to the question, "What is your list?"

3. Fascinating. So, it makes me wonder if extremely tolerant people can also more change averse?

2. "The food contaminant that causes the most economic damage is campylobacter in poultry, which sickens more than 600,000 people and costs society $1.3 billion a year, the study found." + "Salmonella was flagged as the bacterium that causes the most disease overall, resulting in $3 billion in annual costs." #inconsistent

Anyone else think that is a terrible name for Bill Simmons' site? I'm sure it's a reference to Grantland Rice, but I just don't think it pops, nor is it very evocative of the youthful demographic they're going for.

I agree.

On the monopsony paper, they find that labor markets are far from competitive. But monopsony means only one firm hiring a certain kind of worker (they do say something like switching costs might give a firm something like monopsony power). This raises the issue of a minimum wage actually increasing the number of workers hired, as many principles books point out.

But, it seems like if these firms are not paying their workers their MRP, they would be making above normal profit and this would induce entry into these industries and the competition for workes would tend to raise salaries. Also, I am skeptical that the government can really identify the true monopsonies (or the best candidates for imperfect competition) and then know how to set the right wage rate.

I expect monopsony power to be fairly ubiquitous in the real word, because most firms have to incur fixed costs in order to hire workers, both in the aggregate (e.g. management expenses, regulatory hurdles etc.) and for each individual worker (e.g. overtime is cheaper than adding an additional hire). Thus, the factors of production will not be paid anywhere close to their marginal revenue product, since these fixed costs need to be defrayed. Theory predicts that inelastic factors will be allocated a larger proportion of these costs, and since labor is relatively inelastic, that's where much of the burden will fall.

Maybe I don't understand what you are saying. I don't see why fixed costs create monopsony. Even with fixed costs, there could still be many employers who can potentially hire workers of a certain skill.

And I don't see what you are saying about MRP. Businesses always have to make a normal profit. That maybe is just the MRP of entrepreneurship. That is just another factor getting paid. Many factors combine to make the good, so paying for those other costs does not necessarily mean that workers are getting less than their MRP

(1) "Monopsony power" does not mean that only a single firm exists which could possibly hire the workers. It just means that every firm in the market faces an upward sloping supply curve (rather than horizontal supply) and price does not reach marginal revenue product.

(2) A simple model: My firm sells hair-cutting services, so I need to hire workers who will cut folks' hair. Each worker can give a haircut a day, and haircuts sell for $20 each. The MRP is $20/day. But if hiring my first worker costs $15 (as a fixed cost, not a separately adjustable factor of production), and I can't expand my firm past 10 workers because of competing firms in other neighborhoods, then my total revenue can only support a wage of $18.5 on average. And if some workers are less wage-sensitive than others for some reason, then these workers will be paid far less, while others will get quite close to the full $20 wage.

A lot of left-libertarians like to use the term "oligopsony".

6. Eggers? I guess someone needs to cover the disaffected well off white guy sneering angst angle.

Can anyone recommend Psychology books that are data-based? I took a Psych class in college, and I really enjoyed reading the experimental psych papers (flash cards, sensors in the brain, etc.) but was frustrated by those that took a philosophical approach to Psych. I would love to read a book about Psych experiments.

As to #2, clearly the way to reduce these costs is to eliminate regulations and let markets work.

If the top ten food pathogens really only cost us $8 billion a year, we're doing pretty well. Given that the USDA has an annual budget of $140something billion it seems likely we're past the point of diminishing returns (I realize much of their budget doesn't go to meat inspection and such, but still...).

About 1 billion of the 140 is spent on food safety programs so it does not seem likely we are past the point of diminishing returns even if you only consider money cost and ignore how much people are willing to spend to be safe from other threats.

1. Recommending your own or you spouse's book is so lame. It's probably not as jarring in a series of interviews, but this list makes them look like idiots.

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